in a fit of seasonal pique, i googled estranged christmas poem and came up with this. it's melancholy at a glance, maybe, but to me it's a love song for imperfect things. happy holidays, o internets - best wishes to you and yours from me, the missus, and our beasts.


as a birthmas present to my dad (one of those poor souls born so close to another holiday that he gets lumped gifts - but hey, sometimes they're nice lumped gifts), the missus and i took him to the prairie home companion show at town hall on friday.* garrison keillor tapes were pretty much the only thing the whole family appreciated on car trips back in the day, so i associate his voice with bumping over a mountain road in colorado and falling asleep on my sister's shoulder. i tend to forget just how soothing GK's voice really is; hearing it in person is like settling into a hot bath with a cup of warm milk and xanax. i was so relaxed that i willingly sang "it came upon a midnight clear" with the rest of the audience, something i haven't done since the dark years of high school when i had to plug my nose and go to youth group if i wanted a date for winter formal. jerry douglas, in turn, was perhaps the first dobro player i've seen live, and he does in fact sound like a mountain range in love. i even appreciated billy collins's hammy acting in a poetry mafia skit - and hey, he tricked joe into smiling at poetry! after the moody-pants ryan adams show (in the same spot) we took in a few weeks ago, it was a bit weird to be part of a giant yuppie lovefest, but i'd go every friday (okay, maybe one friday a month) if i could get away with it.

on last week's christmas greenery discussion, i am weak, and we got a christmas tree - a big-ass one at that. it's so big, in fact, that joe had to saw off a bit of the trunk when we got back to the apartment.** after all the hemming and hawing, it was very satisfying to give my little green army men a home; my mom made ornaments for her first christmas with my dad, so it was important to me to DIY it a bit for us. i cheated by buying five red glass ornaments, but i had to go to three dozen stores to find them; at this point, i feel like i bloody conjured them with the force of my will. the guy at crate and barrel was more than a little afraid of me. anyway, behold: the war on christmas.

the attack

on the holiday music comments, i would add that, like the missus, i hate almost all of it; even a charlie brown christmas would have to sneak into our place in an empty throwing muses jewel case. my parents never subjected us to the steamroller, but dad loved anne murray; i'd dash into traffic to avoid "no room at the inn." there are a few tracks i can handle a very few times each year - the ramones' "merry christmas (i don't want to fight tonight)," and (cough) wham's "last christmas"*** - but the only song that gets a universal pass is run-d.m.c.'s "christmas in hollis." and you, internets?

*that recap is actually for the saturday show, but several of the songs and poems popped up in both.

**the tree equivalent of killing your own dinner? i know, it's still wrong.

***the musical equivalent of killing your own dinner.


ah, december 14: the last day to order crimbo gifts online in time for the holiday without paying through the nose for turboshipping. if i'm to release the official kidchamp twelve fancy things of '06 roundup, this is it - so here's hoping one of them happifies someone on your list.

01 if one of your loved ones is losing sleep over killing a tree for santa, forward them a "day of reckoning" tee. it's cute, it's fuzzy, it's gory - everyone wins!

02 for the giver with lots and lots of money and a vampire slayer friend, there's the ravinstyle mirrored heart pendant. "lipgloss glance," my eye - this is for checking to see if the guy next to you on the subway is a child of darkness.

03 courtesy of jake, they call me naughty lola: personal ads from the london review of books. someone needs to name their band 'the hoxton salad-dodgers.'

04 for the aesthete who can't keep plants alive: "you never bring me flowers..." beer can sculpture. i really, really want to learn to make these.

05 billy idol's happy holiday album:* if, say, your sister gave you NKOtB's merry, merry christmas (featuring "funky, funky xmas") in 1997 (not that a loving sister would ever do that), you know what you have to do.

06 for the flame retarded, faux candles - which are a surprisingly effective alternative to flimsy little book lights. i plunk one of these on my chest (or the cat) when i'm reading in bed.

07 my imaginary boyfriend's hi-fi christmas stocking. really nice crafter, too (she frequents the fairs i haunt).

08 for the non-crimbo-celebrating ladyfriend, the yarmulkebra (not to be confused with bramulkes for the lads).

09 for gourmands, mail order soup from the soup nazi man. joe test drove the turkey chili the other night; it wasn't nearly as magical as the soup you could get on 55th, said he, but it was still better than any other packaged stuff he'd tried. soup in the mail is teh win!

10 for the squirrel-loving überhostess, i bride's fancy animal platters. drawback: they're in amsterdam. then again, if it ain't dutch, it ain't much.

11 for the non-squirrel-loving überhostess, pancake dinner's beef steak pillow (now marked down, and proceeds benefit katrina victims).

12 for anyone and everyone, a gift that costs nothing at all: just tell your loved ones that you're growing facial hair like chuck norris to combat prostate cancer in the uk in their honor. how's that for thoughtful giving?

*A YULETIDE CHAT WITH BILLY IDOL ("Christmas is not about...hammer and tonging it. Christmas is about the fireside.") is up over at his myspace page.


ladymag & co. had its holiday party the other night; i estimate that i had 350 separate occasions to consider the crime that is footless tights. technically, they don't make everyone bovine - the highfashionladymag types looked just as underfed as they usually do - but they still make no sense. one wears tights because they 1) make shoes more comfortable, 2) keep the sticks warm, and 3) allow one to slack on shaving. footless tights? no good for any of that. the non-tighted folk popped up along the standard holiday bell curve - a handful of women rocked the awkward colleague cleavage, an older handful had christmas light necklaces, and everyone else wore slacks instead of jeans and reapplied their makeup. i was right in the middle, as usual (i wore my peer pressure pants and three pounds of liquid eyeliner), but i think i'm going to aim for the center by hitting both of the extremes next year. like, this by itself bores me; slap a dozen of these on it and you've got something, boy.

elsewhere in holidayland, i'm waffling about whether or not to purchase a christmas tree (we are not christian and we already have a tiny live tree, but i'm addicted to that fir-in-the-living-room smell, and i've been working on ornaments for weeks). i covet something like jen's live tree - it might not support ornaments, but it's a good size nonetheless, and she'll get to plant it someday. the live tree my parents bought when i was 2 became a monster fort in the twenty years we had it in the backyard,* and i'd love to start a similar tradition - but no yard, baby.** the missus and i have discovered that we both had traumatic tree experiences as kids: in sixth grade i lost my shit when we passed on an ugly tree, thinking that no one else would buy it and it would spend christmas alone. joe, in turn, couldn't handle the fact that they were all dead. if we could use a cut tree afterward, that would be more acceptable - but we have no fireplace, and people don't eat trees nearly as well as goats do. the best compromise i've got thus far is to get a tree on christmas day, when everything still at the lot*** is bound to be trashed the next day anyway. then we'd...sort of be saving a tree from a meaningless demise. but we'd still be encouraging the industry. and, well, i wouldn't get my smell fix. what to do?

*when mom sold the house, the new owners promptly axed the tree. i wish them ill.

**and besides, if i had a yard, i'd have a goat. no baby tree could withstand a hungry goat.

***that is, the sidewalk in front of the deli.


the missus and i caught ryan adams's final show (set list) at town hall last night. we kind of thought he was the opening act (leona "charm attack" naess) when he came onstage, as he had pigtails, flared jeans, and white platform shoes - the whole effect was very manga, and weirdly adorable. maybe not weirdly - i love me some cross-dressing boys. anyway, he led with "come pick me up," a song that guts me (and one of, say, four of his that i recognize - joe and miss w have been proselytizing for some time, but i've been slow on the uptake. i can absorb one alt country act per year.).* then came "when the stars go blue" (which i also recognized, via the corrs - listen, i work for a ladymag), then "oh my sweet carolina" - quite a few heartbreaker tracks up front, there - then the wheels started to come off.** some of the frattier segments of the audience were shouting song titles fairly aggressively, which is obviously par for the course at rock shows, but it seemed to rattle herr adams a bit. he broke for intermission (?!) after some mumbling, at which point i sprinted to the bathroom and ran into barbara bush.*** joe reports that in my absence, RA noted that being seven months sober means that he doesn't handle drunk assholes very well. a few more songs, more heckling - alas, someone started yelling "SUMMER OF '69!" quite loudly - and, after a few more comments about assholes ("would you like a diet coke with that?"), he kind of gave up. the rest of the set was half-mumbled, quite sullen, and half an hour short, no encores.

audience chatter on the way out of the theater was interesting. the superfans regretted not beating the shit out of the yellers before they got out of hand; half of the drunk people and a few of the sober ones felt cheated out of the rest of their show. i just felt kind of sorry for ryan adams. as i said, performers have got to know that folks will yell - and i think that they're expected to tolerate it, to a certain extent. that said, he made it clear that he was upset and was totally ignored. hell, chan marshall supposedly has panic attacks at like half of her shows; i don't fault sensitive guitar boy for losing his cool once. i wonder, though, if most people would consider it unprofessional, or unfair. internets, thoughts?

*this was quite lucky for us, actually, as the word on the street was that he wasn't repeating songs in new york.

**rolling stone disagrees, which is interesting for at least four different reasons.

***the twin, not the matriarch. she was wearing a black minidress that looked like it had been shredded by a cougar; i'm tempted to add half a point to both my "rats" and "star" tallies, but i don't know for sure that she's inflatable - and the whole celeb relative thing was questionable enough when i counted haylie duff.


celebrities v. giant inflatable rats, the old lady who swallowed a fly edition.
now, this is just getting silly.

at first i thought this was an anti-union inflatable rat.

i know that counting haylie duff as a celebrity last month left the door open for some looser interpretations of rat, but i didn't think things would get this random this fast. the new office building next door is run by...rat catchers? or rats, until so recently that they couldn't call off the inflatable strike but did manage to substitute a superhero cat? the whole "dissent via the macy's thanksgiving parade" genre confuses me. i need a nap.

rats: 4.5
star: 8


there is much to say about thanksgiving, but there is much to do on my first day back at the office. until i can give the holiday its due, then, season's greetings and glaring white cat nipples - that summarizes local sentiment nicely.

happy holidays


i waited out one storm too many to take a decent foliage picture from our window - the midweek rain stripped all of the trees on our block, so we're left with nearly bare branches and the wizened halloween balloons that get stuck right in front of our apartment every single year. i still dig the view from the fire escape, though.

the view from our fire escape


1: okay, it's charades! what classic video game am i? [makes obscene gesture]
2: dig dug?
1: we're soul mates.

i've been dishing out opinions for fun and profit all the live-long week. monday i told two earnest japanese women how to market their tofu to western consumers.* the $50 gift card i received for my weird stories of tofutti and punk rock kitchens has been impossible to spend, on christmas presents or myself. i have big plans to tell six more women about tofu so that i can own one of these - mmm, painty pixel art. monday was also the long-awaited 300 press screening, spiced up with a Q&A session featuring zack snyder (dawn of the dead), the pleasantly scottish gerard butler, and frank miller (hot shit!).** wednesday, in turn, was press duty for bug, a thriller with ashley judd, harry connick, jr., and lukas-as-an-escaped-mental-patient-if-you-squint-really-hard-and-aren't-particular-about-particulars (michael shannon).*** and yesterday - yesterday i was simply asked to rule on whether or not a few dozen strangers were attractive, which is one of the weirdest official duties i've had in a while (since the infamous butt modeling of '05, probably).**** i am, in fact, tired of being judgmental. i fear you, foreign feeling!

*in my opinion, it should be packaged in smaller quantities, with recipes.

**in my opinion, gerry butler used a butt double for the scenes with gorgo, but i was too chicken to confirm. also, it was a bit miserly to show us a mere 30 minutes of the movie, audience full of slavering spoilertastic comic book industry professionals or no.

***in my opinion, this was probably an excellent play - like the house of yes, its theater roots were re-eally apparent, which is occasionally awkward. not bad, though, and joe really liked it.

****in my opinion, americans have strange ideas about what others will consider appealing (both physically and philosophically).


101 in 1001: 013 donate platelets at least 12 times [05/12 as of 11.14.06]
weird factoid of the day, courtesy of my ongoing haunting of the citicorp blood center: apparently hemoglobin levels on the left and right sides of the body, a la foot sizes, don't always match up. i flunked the test when a tech pricked my right hand last night (12.4 g/dl), which usually means that i haven't been a very good vegetarian and get booted from the donation queue. this tech, however, went right on to my left hand, saying that the reading was so close that the occasional slight variation between sides could get me above the 12.5 minimum to fork over the platelets. and how - my reading on that side was 14.0, which is significantly higher than it's ever been. i've been paging through blood journals for the why and wherefore of this, but no luck thus far; in the interim, i've declared myself a superhero and have adopted a nick cave theme song.

You're one microscopic cog
in her catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
her left iron hand



i've never really been afraid of new york city. okay, make that new york city crime - i was pretty terrified of times square in a sensory overload kind of way when i vacationed here in '02. the prospect of getting mugged, on the other hand, no. the neighborhoods i frequent are usually so crowded that (with the exception of guys like last summer's serial subway stabber) no one goes to the trouble of committing violent crimes - too many witnesses, too hard to get away. our home turf was a pretty rough area (when my dad worked in hell's kitchen as a college kid, he actually witnessed a murder), but it feels like times have changed. if you don't count the guy, that is, who was shot and killed a block from our apartment on saturday night, on the sidewalk where george had walked home an hour or two earlier. we always tell him to walk safely, ha ha, when he leaves our place, but - what the fuck? the scariest (and most horrible) part of the story is that apparently the murder was a case of mistaken identity: the victim was a father of four who just happened to be walking to his restaurant job at the wrong time. i love living here, and in general i feel much safer than i did when we lived in san francisco (russian hill was snoozeville, but in most parts of the city, if you walked two blocks in the wrong direction it could get very sketchy very quickly), but gah. sometimes i wish we lived in iowa, and/or that we had a george-sized slingshot.

in other, better news, we discovered on saturday that none of us had availed ourselves of the (free) staten island ferry. it's a lovely ride, though there wasn't much to do when we got there; i tried to take sexy photos of the statue of liberty on the way back, but it refused my advances. in other, amazing news, i now have a sewing machine (our wedding present from dave and melissa). it's a mint green kenmore mini ultra, and it is adorable; expect glamour shots soon. as far as i can remember, i've never actually used a sewing machine, so expect frustrated rants about bobbins and walking feet as well. they will be happy frustrated rants, though - in craftnerdland, a machine of one's own is like a personal jet pack.


i can't vote until my lunch break, but i can represent all day.

what a world

naturally, joe is out working the streets. his most recent prediction* was the house by 15, and that we wouldn't take the senate. me, i'm managing my expectations: i'm just glad that i won't have to hear about jeanine pirro any more. side note to my peeps in california: re-elect arnie and you're dead to me.

side note, via our freedom fighting friends at the bassett dispatch: need a button?

*as of when i asked a few days ago, that is.


central park south


as predicted, we did a whole lot of nothing yesterday evening. the missus had to be up early for a press event, and i didn't fancy heading out on the town by myself, so we 'weened it with veronica mars like the homebound twentysomethings we are. i'm loath to let the holiday pass without some sort of salute, though, so here's something horrifying.

i knew the ladymag would get me sooner or later.

i have cropped pants, and lord help me, i'm pleased. i'll try to use them for good, not evil, but i don't know that i should be trusted.


things i appreciated about jury duty:

001 free internet / common use laptops in the waiting room. i didn't queue for one - still a bit traumatized by the Everybody Computer i used at my youth hostel in amsterdam - but hey, nice touch.

002 the soap in the ladies' room smelt of white gummi bears.*

003 the arts and crafts (by new york city court employees) exhibit in the lobby of the court building. and i thought i was eclectic. these people crochet wedding dresses for barbies, construct needlepoint villages, paint cyborgs, weld stained glass...awesome. i've never been to a gallery show that included artist factoids like "employee, queens criminal court." they need to put this stuff on a website.

004 an earnest note on the coke machine that encouraged jurors to shop around for water, as the bottles therein were a better value than those in the snapple machine across the lunch room.

005 getting to imagine that i was a law & order guest star as i climbed up and down the courtroom steps.

006 getting to embellish said guest appearance with my own L&O thunk-thunks and scene-change captions (QUIZNO'S, OCTOBER 30).

007 the excuse to buy a book (zadie smith's on beauty - fast-paced, decent).

008 serving my country while reading about lindsay lohan. democracy, i salute you.

*random aside: apparently "white gummy bear" is a secret order at jamba juice, a la the 'animal style' and '3-by-3' special burgers from in-n-out. "cranberry craze" would be one, too, but apparently the recipe disappeared with the menu listing. bite me, jamba juice.


our halloween-related program activities have been pretty pathetic this year. the word on the street is that there's a pumpkin shortage (there's a fungus among us), and the ones i've seen on eighth avenue are going for $25 apiece; i can't go for that.* our rubber bats, jenna and barbara, are buried somewhere in my mammoth pile of craft supplies, and i'm too lazy to dig them out. and joe? joe doesn't do halloween. like i said, pathetic.

in the absence of inhabitant-generated holiday flava, the apartment itself has stepped up: it smells like death. the stank began a few days ago as the occasional rancid zephyr, and we thought someone had thrown garbage into the alley next to our building. on wednesday, it had become an assy wave that crested at the bedroom door, so i yanked everything out from under the bed in search of cat...i don't know. it wasn't the cats' fault, or under the bed. by last night, when it had ripened into an open-handed slap to the soul, we realized that it actually was death. something expired in the ceiling and, reheated by the radiator pipe that runs along my side of the bed, has been calling to us through loose plaster around the top edge of the pipe.

people, it isn't good. our building is 125 years old, and ripping out the ceiling to extract whatever the hell is up there (aside from being totally hypothetical, since our super would never materialize to do it) would take forever and probably flatten us all. the corpse isn't coming out, and it's going to kill us softly instead, odor receptor by odor receptor. happy halloween to you, too, apartment.

*(no can do)


it isn't simply that i need one of these; it's that i can't think of anyone who doesn't.


101 in 1001: 036 have a meal at a 'raw food' restaurant [completed 10.13.06]

napoleon of black trumpet mushrooms

joe, phil, dave, and i braved the spookies of friday the 13th and checked out pure food and wine near union square. i was pretty excited; as sara noted when we chatted the other day, the food looks gorgeous (on their site, mind you - i know my photo stinks), and local foodie sites seem up on the place. two raw dishes and $75/person later, i say...meh. raw* food, like other vegan food, calls for a special kind of thinking: if you compare it to with eggy/milky/meaty versions of the same dish, you're going to be disappointed. unfortunately, raw food chefs like to mimic regular menu items, which is wildly hit-or-miss. my appetizer (above), a napoleon of black trumpet mushrooms, was fabulous; the cashew 'cheese' wasn't cheesy, per se, but the texture was pleasant and the pinot noir sauce was lovely. my entree, on the other hand, was chalky parsnip 'pasta' with seriously overherbed sauce. joe said it reminded him of savory key lime pie, and if that sounds good to you, i'm never coming to a dinner party at your house. dessert - particularly dave's mint chip ice cream - was spectacular and is available for take-out; if you feel like going raw, i recommend picking up a carton of that** and skipping the full sit-down experience. then again, it's no secret that i have a white trash palate - if a splashy, wacky dinner is up your alley, give the ol' raw food a try. it's certainly singular.

*per PF&W, "the term raw refers to keeping all of the ingredients under 118 degrees. this preserves food's natural enzymes which catalyze digestion. wheat, dairy, soy and refined sugars are naturally omitted in raw food preparation."

**lord only knows how much it would cost, though; raw ice cream is coconut meat and cashew sweetened with agave nectar, which is freakishly expensive on its own. the restaurant's snack site suggests calling for prices.


1: who would win in a fight between simple minds and echo & the bunnymen?
2: they are evenly matched.
1: the intro would be great.


here's proof that i'm getting old. a birthday is the perfect excuse to scratch something off of my 101 in 1001 list (040 have my palm read in a psychic's parlor), what with the beginning of my saturn return* - i'm sure a palmister would have lots of exciting things to say about the death of youth (or, you know, a long voyage i'll take over the sea). i was thinking along those lines on a walk around the block when i turned the corner and saw this:

the midtown psychic

the young, interesting me would have gone for it, but the new, responsible me is in the middle of closing an issue of the ladymag and can't dematerialize for more than five minutes at a stretch. oh, fun. it was nice to know you.

*you can take the girl out of the san francisco hippie shit, but you can't take the san francisco hippie shit out of the girl.


our hulking framed wedding photos (me and the missus in the parking lot [hee] and the group shot from the stanford house) came back from the art studio yesterday. my professional-discount-related glee was somewhat lessened by Framing Guy's utter and unwarranted bitchiness. i agree that joe physically presenting the receipt (which was at work with me) would have been best, but since i 1) called ahead of time to say that my husband would be picking up so-and-so order number, no we don't have the same last name but here's his, and 2) both of the framed pictures were of joe, i think it would have been safe for Guy to assume that we weren't art thieves.

why, one might ask, am i telling you this? because i wanted to flesh out a post that would otherwise have consisted entirely of my new favorite amazon page - that is, this dude's registry for his marriage to mariah carey.


George Foreman GR10AWHT Champ Grill
Antique White Lamp Base
Martex Egyptian Washcloth 2-Pack, Navy
Velocity DVD-R 4X 4.7GB Inkjet White Printable (100-Spindle)
Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Champions Authentic Collection Cap


101 in 1001: 050 complete at least 3 more learning to love you more assignments [ongoing]
Assignment #63
Make an encouraging banner.

Think of something encouraging you often tell yourself. For example: Everything will be ok. Or: Don't listen to them. Or: It'll blow over. Now draw each letter of the sentence on a large piece of colored construction paper or big squares of fabric. One letter per piece. Draw them blocky so you can cut them out. Cut them out. Glue each one onto a piece of construction paper or fabric that is a contrasting color. Then glue the edges of all the pieces of paper or fabric together to make a banner. Hang the banner in a place where you or someone else might need some encouragement, for example, across your bathroom. Or between two trees so that you and your neighbors can receive encouragement from it. Or in a gas station.
my report, courtesy of my sister (the phrase) and made of felt (the banner):



the dirty dozen: october doldrums edition* [part 3]:

009 my cold-weather thing is, apparently, buying a frivolous stuffed beast; i am a ten-year-old. last year it was yul; this year, it's - shame! - a starbucks halloween creature.** i'd post a picture (as it's quite cute, naturally), but i promised myself that i wouldn't pull the trigger unless i successfully pitched a lifestyle story at work; since i failed there, i decided that it shall be hidden until said successful pitch.

010 at the other end of the spectrum, there's absolutely nothing wrong with buying swag to pay for a dog's cancer treatments, especially when the swag says I [HEART] TRIPODS. behold the 'i heart tripods' blog, and the story of lulu the three-legged dog. give her all of your money. go on.

011 the ladymag had a four-way surprise party yesterday morning for me, a fellow newlywed, and two very pregnant coworkers. the format pleased me, as my card-and-massage-certificate-opening shared stage time with baby swag praise and another bride's stories. i still choked when it was my turn to talk, though, which is fucking frustrating: i've made peace with the fact that i'm no longer the full-of-herself teenager who could speak in front of a thousand people and wear 8" platforms to class without batting an eye, but it would be nice to talk to a few dozen benevolent colleagues without losing my voice. i think of situations like those whenever someone argues that medication alters one's authentic personality: what if the other me is the one i'm supposed to be? i'm not unhappy now, not at all, but i know that if i decide to pharm it up again someday, i won't flinch. suck it, tom cruise.

012 celebrities v. giant inflatable rats, the worldwide fug edition.
woo woo, haylie duff! semi-famous siblings shouldn't count, you say? i spend enough time over at go fug yourself that passing miz duff on the way home from work (wearing black leggings, no less) is, honestly, up there with the q&a with james carville a few weeks ago.***

rats: 3.5
star: 8

*i shouldn't be bored, since october is easily my favorite month. we have a remedy (we have?): henceforth it's rocktober.

**i don't actually hate starbucks; i quite like clean bathrooms, and the word on the street is that they treat their employees quite well. i simply prefer to purchase beasts from people who make them by hand (like beth, whose critters are gorgeous).

***however, i do not consider haylie duff my boyfriend.


the dirty dozen, october doldrums edition [part 2]:

005 look, ma, i'm * in rolling stone ** ! savor it: something tells me it's my first and last appearance.

006 i feel i've mentioned before that i don't know how housing etiquette works in the non-dorm world (can you curse out the window if neighbor guy won't turn his alarm off on the weekend? what about banging a shoe on the ceiling?). it's still true: the missus and i were jolted awake at three thirty this morning by someone buzzing the doorbell, over and over and over again, and i blanked on the appropriate adult response. at a normal hour, i'd get on the intercom and - provided my perky wifey "hello?" yielded a response other than "i'm coming to kill you with a cheese grater" - let the buzzer in (everyone deserves a hand when they forget their keys). at three thirty, i don't answer at all and fantasize about dropping an egg from the window. in my defense, the late night buzzers usually are cheese grater psychos who don't answer; the plaza across the street summons them in droves.

007 i have a theory, and it is that joe and i should go to montreal. we'll have neither the money nor the vacation time to get this done until, oh, spring if we're lucky, but i fancy having a trip to anticipate - and i have all of these planning muscles, see, from throwing together the handy dandy overseas wedding. it would be criminal to let those atrophy. the travel sites tell me that the cheapest flights to the area are actually to burlington, vermont, which seems a bit odd; if any of you have insider tips on visiting the canadians (or access to a giant slingshot), dear readers, do let me know.

008 [honorary] mischa barton quote of the day:
Karl Lagerfeld's amazing. We have so many of the same thoughts and we teach each other something new all the time.

- Lindsay Lohan (via popbitch)


**('s blogged excerpts of mountain man dance moves)


the dirty dozen, october doldrums edition [part 1]:

001 news of interest in ladymagland (which is quite deserted today, what with the holiday): five models were booted out of fashion week in madrid for being too skinny. as reported in the pittsburgh post-gazette,
Spain's crackdown may have stemmed from women's advocacy groups and medical associations in Spain that protested last year that too many models looked skeletal.

The 68 models who showed up to audition for Madrid Fashion Week this time had been told in advance that they would be examined by several specialists. The inspectors included a doctor with Spain's National Endocrinology Society and an obesity consultant at a hospital.

The five who flunked the physical were taller than 5 feet, 7 inches, weighed less than 121.25 pounds and had a body mass index under 18 - below the BMI minimums set by the endocrinology society and the World Health Organization.
this i find somewhat insulting. it's horrible that the fashion industry causes some women (and, gulp, children) to hate themselves, but shielding the fashion week crowd from the psychic shock of malnourished models smacks of paternalism to me. i do feel that girls' magazines should self-censor, and i'm glad that my ladymag eschews ze skeletons (i find them sci-fi and boring - fine for art photography, not particularly useful when i'm trying to figure out what to wear this fall), but the idea that adult women need protection from designer mind games is just sad. thanks, spain, but no thanks.

002 neil gaiman tribute album! predictably, tori amos and the rasputina gals contributed tracks; less predictably, stephin merritt did as well (future bible heroes' "mr. punch"). part of me wants to make it this year's frivolous halloween purchase, part of me wants to lay low and snatch it from an unsuspecting teen goth in the west village (because mugging one of them would be fun); the largest part of me doesn't recognize any of the other bands, and is feeling dark enough already, what with turning twenty-eight next week, thanks.

003 via caterina.net, a decent premise for a new flickr group:
Ernest Hemingway was once prodded to compose a complete story in six words. His answer, personally felt to be his best prose ever, was For sale: baby shoes, never used. Some people say it was to settle a bar bet. Others say it was a personal challenge directed at other famous authors.

I'd like you to post a photo with a Six Word Story in the title section of a Flickr photo. Be as inventive as possible. Have those few words tell the whole tale, and let the picture be its visual interpretation.
meh to the photo element (i'll leave the fancy snapping to the pros), but the story idea i like: caterina's commenters have done some fine work with it.

004 gary shteyngart (absurdistan, the russian debutante's handbook) on food: like gary shteyngart in general, random and satisfying. highlights:
I was so happy [about the possible trans-fats ban]; I mean, sad too, because I'll never taste them again. But I don't have to constantly think, What am I eating here?


I'd love to wake up and eat a stick of butter and take a shot of vodka.


I don't give a damn [about the spinach warning]. I just know that's not how I'm going to die — it's too sad. Killed by something I don't even enjoy eating — that would be definitive proof of lack of God.


Tired all day, ended up just slurping some black-bean soup at home and eating a crapload of very tasty apples. My girlfriend is from California where they eat that type of thing. My stomach cried me to sleep.

we at kidchamp labs find it most heartening that, in his newborn blog, zyzzyva's howard junker discusses both robert mapplethorpe's ass (enraged the nea) and his lunch (tepid, near a rat). so very many bloggers hit you with what they think or what they eat. high/low, huzzah! and welcome to The Internets, howard.

good things happen when the wedding registry gets cleared out.* i was worried that we'd end up with his-and-hers nighties or bride and groom outfits for the cats,** but phil hooked us up with seasons 1 and 2 of veronica mars. i'm so excited about my upcoming utterly sedentary weekend*** that i just don't know what to tell you.

*good things, that is, in addition to our getting all of the fun stuff on it. i still find that kind of shocking.

**that's a lie - bride and groom cat outfits would be awesome. [aerosmith] jude looks like a lady... [/aerosmith]

***i won't just be watching television, mind - there's a new needlepoint project afoot.


domesticity strikes again. this time i was compelled to teach myself to make cheap, healthy ethnic food. trial #1 (borscht) was going pretty well until i started admiring the gory pile of beet shavings in my sink and, distracted, took a hunk out of my index finger (my last thought before that, ironically, was "hee, fargo!"). then i puréed everything at the end, which turned out to be a terrible idea. in russia, borscht purées you!

trial #2 (baked falafel) was much more satisfying. i found an online recipe* that didn't even call for my year-old can of tahini - in fact, its most exotic ingredient was soy sauce. tweaked for our heat-addicted tastebuds, may i present

falafel for whitey

- 2 cans chickpeas (drained)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp peanut butter (i used chunky organic)
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped (medium fine)
- 1 egg
- handful (about 1/8 cup) of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (i used tamari)
- sesame seeds

pulverize garbanzo beans in a manner of your choosing (unable to find the food processor lid, i tried pulsing them in the blender with the egg and soy sauce and then squished the resulting paste between my fingers to get the giant lumps out - were i you, i would not choose this manner); in a large bowl, combine and mix all ingredients except sesame seeds. roll resulting paste between your hands to create spheres the size of golf balls; roll these in sesame seeds (i placed a few tbsp at a time in the bottom of an empty margerine container, which seemed to work well) and place a few inches apart on a cookie sheet (or a brownie pan, which takes care of the occasional fugitive falafel ball). if you're feeling zesty, sprinkle a bit more cayenne on top of each ball. bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes (ie until they're paper bag brown; the sesame seeds don't seem to change color). served with halved pita bread (toast if you like, but go easy - brittle pitas make a HUGE mess), fresh arugula, sliced tomato, tzatziki (or plain greek yogurt, which is pretty common out here), hummus, hot sauce (we used cholula, which was great) - whatever blows your hair back.

joe, george, and i all liked this; i think the key was the tzatziki** and the hot sauce, which made up for the dryness of the falafel balls. i also think the dish worked because i wasn't expecting it to taste like authentic falafel; i expected, and got, a tasty, vaguely mediterranean sandwich. it's a start, no?

*i didn't realize until i was walking around the amish market with a printout that said recipe comes from a site called "modern wife." aaugh, wife!

**admittedly, total brand tzatziki or yoghurt would make most anything edible. the greeks are not fooling around with that stuff.


101 in 1001: 059 score at least 3 bylines in national magazines (mine counts) [ongoing]
the weeks of work hell just before and after the wedding are paying off, a little - i wrote two pieces that will be in the november issue of the ladymag. it's difficult to talk about them without being annoyingly cryptic (more so than usual, that is) or too candid for my own good,* so i'll just say that it feels good to have full pages in my clip binder (which, 'til now, was mostly 50-word book reviews and a paragraph about brain research**). i'll need a lot more of them if i'm to start pitching other magazines (which is an eventual goal, both because i have other demographics in mind and because my in-house work is unpaid), but this is a solid beginning. thanks for the motivation, online '101 in 1001' list!


Your parents look like movie stars!

Your husband looks like Hugh Grant.

You guys look alike.

*translation: ask me in person about why i've grown a separate ego to deal with collaborative commercial publishing.

**and that list in mountain man dance moves, which is now in stores (woo!), though getting additional work on the strength of a boob joke is unlikely. the rest of the book, by the way, is funny - i'd say at least two thirds of the other lists are better than mine, which is right about where i like to be.


just in time for our one month anniversary,* we have wedding photos! never before has my head been so big - literally, as we have these giant portraits that would take up entire walls of our apartment. this is the only 'public' photo in the flickr set; if you'd like to see others, drop me a line and i'll mark you as a contact/friend in the system (flickr signup - which is free and easy, like so few things - required).

ze officiant (aunt diana), ze marrieds,

*which joe does not recognize. screw joe; i've heard plenty of guys talk about their anniversaries in increments other than years.


jen's take on chicago's edition of the renegade craft fair got me thinking about craft and spending. jen sez (in part):
fortunately for my pocketbook, i'm just crafty enough myself that when i go to craft fairs like this i'm prevented from buying things because i keep thinking, "i could make that!" of course, i probably won't ever have the time, but it helps keep the cash in my wallet. so do the prices, actually. i don't begrudge any of the artists their right to make a profit (or at the very least support their crafty habit), but $35 for a t-shirt is sadly out of my price range. for the sake of all DIY designers out there today hopefully not all the shoppers were as poor (and potentially crafty) as i am.

i have analogous reactions to a lot of craft (as many people do - "i can do that!" is the bane of a vendor's existence).* the catch-22 in do-it-yourselfing for profit is its ostensible emphasis on technique rather than innovation; until one's skill level gets wa-ay up there, it's difficult to generate a really singular project with technique alone. that's why, i think, you have to give crafters credit for sheer labor (as jen also notes), and why it's important to award points for design - for, i guess, craft that crosses into that murky 'art' area. learning to generate needlepoint like mine, for example, would take about forty five minutes of practice (an hour if you're clumsy), and my image manipulation techniques are pathetic (ye olde xerox machine's enlarge and darken features - and i use them badly), but i like to think that i deserve a tip of the hat for design as well as for elbow grease (as i recall, the debbie harry portrait took me about six months to finish).**

shelling out to a crafter was one of the really enjoyable aspects of wedding planning; getting married was the perfect excuse to throw around funds i wouldn't normally have at my disposal. i knew that i wanted handmade soy candles for favors at the reception; technically i could have learned to pour them myself and researched a wholesale supplier for materials, but a) unless you're a cyborg bride, taking on more than one or two labor-intensive projects in addition to the rest of your wedding planning is just asking for a nervous breakdown, b) the candlemaker i found on etsy had much more experience and better supplies than i would have had, and c) it just felt good to be that candlemaker's first big order. she asked me afterward if she could use pictures of our order as examples of her work for future clients, and she started actively soliciting bigger projects online; i loved having had a little to do with that.

i have no huge point here, but i do believe that crafters should (when possible) compensate each other for inspiration. when i can afford to say "good on you for making a knitted ms. pac man cuff! here's $20!", i do - and when i can't, i let them know i'm impressed. that won't buy supplies, but it's still worth something.

*on a related note, i find open source art like cory arcangel's super mario clouds really interesting. i can't imagine feeling secure enough in my own originality that i'd want to encourage people to replicate my projects.

**i'm not calling my stuff art, mind you - i simply know more about my own skills (or lack thereof) than i do about others'.


joe and i got to see my boyfriend james carville* at a preview screening of all the king's men last night. the movie itself was decent (though i have issues with the john woo-ish final scene, and the accents are a bit touch and go), and i'd be shocked if sean penn isn't nominated for an academy award (i'd imagine there are a few supporting nods coming, too - i'm not saying i agree, mind you, but i smell oscars). the brief q&a with carville, a production guy, and a studio head was more entertaining, if predictable: carville noted that while the main character was based on huey long, looking to the movie for information on him would be like watching the abc special on 9/11 for information about the attacks (hee). he also kept mentioning that he had been in old school, which - well, yes, but we got our invitation to the screen via the congresswoman; it's safe to assume that we and everyone else would rather have heard about the war room (the documentary that made carville my boyfriend). ah, well.

in other political news, i finally (praise god!) finished clinton's my life. i am glad that i read it, and i'm even okay with the fact that he rambled (i got at least three decent book recommendations - the serpent and the rainbow, the russia hand, and the cobra event* - out of him), but i still feel that i've just finished a marathon. if you'd like to read it, or to have a liberal doorstop, lemme know - this thing hogs a lot of shelf.


Kirk Cameron latches onto him and slows him down.

Nicole Ritchie gains a pound!

A bolt of lightning arcs out of Gwyneth Paltrow and strikes your opponent for 17 damage.

Strobe Talbott shouts "Yarr!" and battens your opponent's hatches for him. Violently. For 40 damage.

Fidel Castro butts him for 4 (+10) damage.

Ann Coulter feasts on the corpse, then touches you gently on the cheek.

*marriage is so convenient! now i can name drop my fake boyfriends (carville, gus hansen, andrew bird, etc) without mixing them up with my ex-boyfriend (the missus).

**on a totally unrelated note, i noticed in looking that up that preston has another book called the demon in the freezer; imagine my disappointment when i found out it was just about bioterror.


i wasn't prepared for the storm surge of domesticity that attends coming back from one's honeymoon. it started slowly enough - we cleaned like fiends last sunday, did a little grocery shopping, bought some new pillows* - but by ten in the morning on labor day i was making chili for an army, and over this weekend we lofted the bed, painted the bedroom,** cleaned again, and, um, arranged flowers. is this how the yuppie landslide begins? the roses, it must be said, are very satisfying.

i remember my first 9/11 in new york simply because it was my first. the bagpipers in the subway were a bit odd, but the day was otherwise unremarkable. i watched the reading of victims' names at ground zero for the first time in years this morning, on the other hand, and teared up; even as a local, it's easy to forget that the attacks were more than a national disaster for some people, that this is the anniversary of family members' and friends' deaths. i feel a bit ashamed of myself for wishing the survivors' groups would quit bickering over details of the memorials. it can't be fun to be reminded of, say, your husband being killed every time you see a teaser for one of the commemorative tv specials.

*this was actually the first time we've purchased pillows for ourselves; the others just materialized, probably from our parents. if you think about just how long we've been living together, this is pretty gross.

**yes, the incredible hulk green is no more. i was really fond of it - and it did make the room look larger than café-au-lait beige does - but the new walls are definitely more restful, and much easier to decorate.


sweet christ, that was a lot of image processing. but it is done, and the world will know of our vacationing! behold the mighty honeymoon photo set!

i want a bowl of soup


as of the wee hours on saturday night / sunday morning (thank you, jamaican human shield in the international baggage claim), we is stateside once more.* i'm pleased to report that my first day back at the office has been relatively painless; as a matter of fact, i'm still so jet lagged that i leapt from bed and into my cube an hour early this morning. this was valuable time in which to prepare for the onslaught of post-wedding ladymag well-wishing that followed (i'm told that i'll be thrown a retroactive shower sometime later this week). it would have been valuable time in which to upload the honeymoon photos, but i cleverly locked all of my cube cabinets (including the one full of camera cables) before going away and then took the keys...somewhere. i'm hoping they're under the sofa and not, say, in glasgow. in lieu of photos, then, you get...wedding facts-at-a-glance!

no. of times lauren has dropped the h bomb ("husband"): 3

no. of times joe has said "wife": 1

total weight gained by lauren, joe, and cats since we left for oxford (in lbs):12**

first twelve songs played at our reception:

somebody's baby - yo la tengo
sweet jane - the velvet underground
the chemistry between us - suede
more than this - roxy music
try a little tenderness - otis redding
graceland - the new pornographers
love love love - the mountain goats
100,000 fireflies - the magnetic fields
just like honey - the jesus and mary chain
you are the light - jens lekman
do ya - elo
let's dance*** - david bowie

no. of times we played omd's "if you leave": 4 (est.)

*i should have implemented the aforementioned wearing-the-wedding-dress-once-a-week thing instead of sending it home with my mom - on four flights, we didn't get a single cute newlyweds first-class upgrade. it wasn't that big of a deal on the domestic legs of the trip - or the trip from new york, even - but getting to jump the three hour line for the metal detectors at heathrow would have been huge. at least we got to suffer with stewart and hodge, who got caught in the same hell on the way to boston from ireland and were bumped right next to us in line.

**one pound per cat, five for each of us. pretty impressive, when you consider that they each weighed about ten pounds total beforehand.

***there was no actual dancing, at least not until everyone discovered the fancy bar and joe killed the playlist in favor of snoop dogg.


internet cafes don't lend themselves to long posts about wedding vacations, so haiku will have to suffice for now. there will be much to say when we get back to the states on saturday - what an odd, wonderful trip.


the first wormhole i
build will take me from new york
to the chequers inn.


a merchant marine
bought us shots of aftershock,
shouting HONEYMOON!


xanax for belfast?
please? beautiful place, nowhere
close to normalcy.


a well-loved old shoe:
a bit scuffed, a bit stinky,
but a perfect fit.


101 in 1001: 015 drink a pint of ale in oxford for my grandfather [completed 08.20.06]
matrimony accomplished! i think it will be some time before i'm able to recall sunday properly - it's true that a bride remembers her wedding day in weird flashes at first, if at all, though i do have a memory of saying something about luggage in my speech - but i can say that we can't be happier with how things turned out, and we're shocked and thrilled that we pulled it off. that's thanks in no small part to jen, who nominated herself as our wedding stage manager and could have a long and illustrious career producing badass nuptials if she so chose, to magnificent stephanie of the stanford house, and to friends and fam who stepped up fantastically to be part of our plans. i'm loath to blog an academy awards speech, so i'll leave it at that for now, but our readings are up at ye olde lauren and joe wedding site if you choose to peruse.

we walked from the turf tavern (mid-celebration drinks in honor of my grandfather) to freud (the reception site) instead of taking cabs with our guests, and it was the nicest stroll i've ever taken. i'd thrown my denim motorcycle jacket over my wedding dress and had a book bag and a cigarette along with my bouquet, but i looked bridely enough (what with the dapper joe in his suit and matching buttonhole) that we were recognized and applauded (loudly, with english brio) all through oxford; a couple even asked if they could take a picture with us (hell yeah they could). i might throw my dress on once a week or so for the rest of my life; being congratulated by kebab vans was a singular joy.

i'm joe's wife! holy shit!


we have chairs for the wedding!

but joe has no suit.

also, meat cake.


salt creek

it's been a long, strange california week. i've actually only been here since ten on wednesday morning, but i was awake for the first thirty or so hours of the trip (give or take a cat nap on the plane); new york is far away. at my grandfather's funeral in los angeles, i saw my mother's side of the family (not my mother, but that's another story) for the first time in, say, six years. i won't be seeing many of them again for a while, i think.


the bridal wave is gathering speed. invitations are mostly out, and calls are starting to come in. i flip-flop between days of steady progress - haggling with the florist, romancing the seamstress, brinksmanship with the post office - and nights of staring at the ceiling, o-god-less-than-two-months-we'll-all-surely-perish. we de-stress in odd ways: yesterday, for instance, we interviewed for who wants to be a millionaire? (they wanted us for one of their 'engaged couples' shows, but cooled off when they learned the wedding was in a month; we'll be plain old contestants now, if called). this weekend, we tired of new york and hopped a bus for atlantic city (much better timing there, as the governor has since closed down the casinos as a result of jersey's budget crisis). behold the mighty photo set!

love boat


the new view - near the cube, not from the cube (i should be so lucky). if you squint, you can see the guy at columbus circle who always, always asks me to take his tour, though i've passed him once every few days for the past two years.

ze new view


don't want to move it move it

it's the end of an era here at casa de ladymag. as of 4pm this afternoon, i'm out of my very own office and on my way to the new megabuilding. the loss is incalculable: no more reckless book-hoarding,* no more AC/DC at top volume as i pick through medical studies, no more lounging behind my big desk sans pants. just look at those stacks of dollies, waiting to rip my stuff apart and carry it across the city like so many malevolent fuzzy rainbow ants. "my stuff" is a misnomer, though - we aren't allowed to have plants, candles, bulletin boards, or "large personal items" in our new digs, so i'll be lucky if i squeak in with my shiny, shiny pen cup and a few photos of joe and the cats.

then, o then, there's the likely new dress code. since i'm rarely needed at meetings and never have to meet clients, i roll into the office in tees and jeans - never together, mind you, but we define our 'office casual' rather liberally. now that we're to share escalators and elevators with the folks in corporate, i fear that nylons and i are going to get reacquainted.

goodbye, sweet privacy. hello, um, pants.

*this is probably a good thing - i don't really need a copy of barbara boxer's first novel or fifteen vegan cookbooks - but the apartment is looking pretty crowded now that my lovely auxiliary library is taking a dirt nap and its contents have been repatriated. i had twelve huge shelves, people.


we all knew it could end this way.
come here, go away: the wedding edition

come here, godawful wedding crap. without you, i might never have known the cake topper joy that is mermice.

go away, get axl for our wedding guy. i get that brian herzlinger's my date with drew made it seem cool to solicit celebrities via the internet, but dude? that ship has sailed.

come here, indiebride, for sheltering me from the wedding-industrial complex and offering solid tips on everything from enlightened invitation language to a competent local seamstress. speaking of,

go away, special occasion lingerie makers. sure it's tough to build underthings that are strapless AND backless AND unhideous, but it ain't impossible. i don't want to wear nasty-ass stick-on...things any more than you want a quick punch in the kidney. see where this is going?

come here, veiled conceit ("A glimpse into that haven of superficial, pretentious, pseudo-aristocratic vanity: The NY Times's Weddings & Celebrations Announcements"). you soothe the sting of feeling too low-born for the times - and keep me honest when i feel like trying for it anyway.

go away, running of the bridezillas. no brides-to-be should have to trot through times square with steer horns on their heads, even if they're voluntarily whoring themselves for $25K from a reality show. would you sponsor something like that for, say, new moms? they're vulnerable too, and all.

happy june, all! time for another installment of come here, go away (still tm tomato nation).

come here, the descent, you crazy foreign horror flick. you've got an all-female cast, you're the scariest thing i've seen in years, and your advance screening was free. you could have chipped in for the stiff drinks we needed afterward, but hey.

go away, cesar dog food commercial featuring the magnetic fields' "i think i need a new heart." i've gotten past the idea that indie bands should hide in my CD pile and refuse to shill for corporations - hell, i actually enjoy the jaguar commercial with spoon's "i turn my camera on" - but cheap dog food? joe supposed that stephin merritt feeds the stuff to his dog, to which i say two wrongs don't make a right. then i think of the culinary implications of the title and - ew. that's like "judy and the dream of horses" in an elmer's glue ad.

come here, replacement wedding florist - no, really. sure, my mom is the queen of last-minute event planning and could pinch hit if you continue to flake on me, but i've given you money, and we're way past the point where you could tell me for three weeks in a row that the estimate would be ready "tomorrow." i will cut you.

go away, crappy american economy. a bride-to-be shouldn't be worrying about the federal reserve, but my ignorance of projected exchange rates is killing me as i plan this wedding. the british pound is kicking ass and taking names: if i'd made today's reception payment six months ago, i'd have saved a cool $200.

come here, knitta, please! - i wish i'd thought of tagging car antennae and telephone poles with fuzzy scarflings and half-socks. much like the leekspin girl (via douglas), your crew takes me to a happy place where i don't want to beat florists to death with ben bernanke.


as promised, ye olde outsider art:

ye olde outsider art

is it upside down? should it be ninety degrees clockwise? is it a cautious nexus of control and inevitability? is it an acid sandwich? this is why i need you, dear readers. it's the mystery canvas challenge!

mischa barton quote of the day (courtesy of julia):

Q: Are you going to walk her [the dog]?

MB: Yes. She's never seen SoHo or Tribeca, and I grew up there, so I feel it's necessary. But it's horrible, because she's way too little to put down. I have to walk around with her in my arms, and I look like one of those girls who has a small dog.

(newsweek, 5.29.06)

it's been a giveth and taketh away couple of days in these parts. the boys and i followed the trail of free shit down to design week kickoff events in the meatpacking on saturday, where pretty ladies gave me complimentary sangria and we flinched at the surprisingly hardcore victorian porn films at wonderland beauty parlor's wallpaper exhibit. joe found an amusing ratty old canvas at the local housing works thrift shop; i'll post a picture tomorrow for a rousing game of "outsider art: which way is up?". we also met the indescribably comfortable argo chair at karkula, which is where my money would go if i wanted to drop $4250 on something for my butt.

on saturday night i became the very last wannabe hipster to discover the backroom, a latter-day speakeasy (funded by tim robbins, of all people) hidden behind a mysterious gate on the lower east side. i didn't get the chunky-necklace-and-victorian-shirt memo, so i hid in a corner with my teacup of diet coke and tried to hide my bad pedicure and target flip-flops. is it normal to feel like a square old fart at twenty-seven?

yesterday was a lovely crunch day, as i wrote three wee pieces for the next issue of the magazine and was asked to take over a regular page. i was feeling like a very together young lady right up until i poured a pint of chili into my purse. well played, new york monday. well played.

05.18.06 [spoiler alert]

kidchamp HQ isn't the best party venue in town, as the bathroom is on the other side of our often dodgy bedroom, we have only two chairs and approximately eight square feet of table space, and the cats like to vomit on strangers. were we in the habit of throwing big to-dos, though, we'd certainly have one tonight. from gawker:
You see, Access Hollywood sends daily press releases plugging whatever will be on that night’s show. Tonight, it’s an interview with O.C. starlet Mischa Barton (who coincidentally used to date charming Brandon Davis). Well, that’s nice. Except that the email completely spoils tomorrow night’s season finale. IN THE SUBJECT LINE. No warning, no looking away, no escape — if you so much as glance at your inbox, Access is going to fuck up your Thursday.

Sure, the season’s outcome was rumored in a few publications, but to have it confirmed by the show’s star? Via Access, of all places? That’s just not right. It’s like when the Times spoiled Million Dollar Baby. Except more retarded.


From: NBC flack
To: Gawker
Sent: 4:14 PM
i'm virtually certain that i haven't passed the spoilage on to you, dear readers, as 1) jacob could be the only man alive who follows this site and watches the o.c., and $10 says he saw these rumors weeks ago, and 2) even i guessed that mischa would get it, and i'm so slow that saved by the bell twist endings used to shock me. all that, of course, is beyond the point - the point is that unless the spoiler hoax theorists on the television without pity boards are on to something, our bony little friend will no longer be blocking a small sliver of my view of newport beach on thursday nights. zounds!

since you can't all make it to the HQ, i declare this space the virtual mischa barton deathwatch party. predict how marissa will snuff it!* tell us, courtesy of seventeen's quiz, which o.c. character you most resemble! most importantly, raise a glass at 9 pm: skeletor, we hardly knew ye.

*best guess gets my august 20, 1990 issue of us weekly. cover lines include harrison ford: presumed cool and spike lee: why is he so angry?


that's a major appliance, that's not a name!

on saturday night, joe and i wandered up to lincoln center to see david blaine in his giant manbowl. almost a week into "drowned alive," his experiment in self-pickling, several hundred people were watching him blow bubbles and make mysterious gestures at foreign tourists (and, let's be honest, a lot of locals).

"No one would analogize what David Blaine does to what occurs on our stages," said Reynold Levy, the president of Lincoln Center. "But the emotions he evokes, the feelings he has engendered, are universal. He is doing to New Yorkers what almost no one can. He's stopping them in their tracks. I look at their faces, and I see complete wonder and bewilderment."

Ann Sheridan, a Manhattan resident who took in Mr. Blaine's watery world about 10 p.m. on Thursday with several friends, drew comparisons to the public art project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that swaddled Central Park in sheets of saffron last year. "It's like 'The Gates,' " she said. "Nobody understood what 'The Gates' meant, but everybody went and saw them."

(new york times, 05.07.06)

i was thinking of christo as we stared at blaine, actually; are blaine's performances public art? can they be compared with, say, performances at the lincoln center (or 'the gates')? i'm not particularly fond of DB (and we fell quite a bit short of "complete wonder" at bubblefest this weekend), but i'm having trouble with a definitive 'no.' peanut gallery?


so busy! but i still need to share my new favorite passage. because i love you.
According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was "a gigantic dwarf," and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.

(George Orwell, "Charles Dickens")

also "no one wants to play sega with harrison ford" - also because i love you.


today's lesson in wedding strategy is that it isn't always a good idea to muffle one's inner bridezilla. i'd been handling our florist with kid gloves because i was afraid she'd back out on us; after waiting a week for a return message and finally resolving to make a polite transatlantic phone call this morning, i got dumped via e-mail anyway. why this couldn't have happened a week or two (or, hell, a month or two) ago - so that i could have had that time to work with the person who inherited (see 04.18.06) her flower shop - is beyond me; what i do know is that it's really, re-ally tempting to be an ugly american when english reticence fucks with my planning. don't mess with the bride, young man. you'll get the horns.

i caught the last fifteen minutes of pretty in pink on cable last night. for those of you who lack total brat pack recall, that's when molly ringwald bounces back from being dumped for prom by whipping up a weird dress and making all of the rich kids look like conformist suckers. when i burst into tears (as i always do) as the soundtrack kicked into OMD's "if you leave," i realized why this wedding stuff is giving me zombie-filled stress dreams* and making me flip my shit over save-the-date cards; while i can shrug off traditions and don't exactly need to feel like a princess, i do need to feel crafty. i'm hoping the stuff i throw together will stand the test of time a little better than molly's dress did, but the temporary "huh? wow!" is what matters. so...which one of you is going to teach me how to pour my own candles?

*the zombies themselves weren't the problem - it was that i was supposed to be revivifying a horde of them while shopping for a rehearsal dinner outfit and my syringes lacked the proper amount of serum, so they kept coming halfway to life and stumbling all over the store and getting in my way. also there was a small dog on fire.


it's hard out here for a lower back tattoo.


that was way too serious. today is come here, go away (tm tomato nation) day.

come here, charoset and bitter herbs. if you're agnostic, passover apparently makes you need hillel sandwiches like a pregnant lady needs pickles and ice cream: joe and i stuffed ourselves with horseradish, apples, and matzoh pretty much throughout seder on saturday.

go away, saw II. i love dreadful horror sequels - for god's sake, i liked hypercube - and the only good thing about you is the "enjoy your PURPLE NURPLE!" line from the scary movie 4 commercials. when you don't get interesting until you're parodied, you're in trouble.

go away come here, wedding florist. it's professional of you to honor your commitment to our wedding (even though we didn't sign anything) this summer after you sold your flower shop to devote yourself to your new baby. i don't really understand how you're going to get it done without, um, a flower shop, but you're the best and only show in town and i want to trust you. please send us the estimate you promised to have by last week so my head doesn't break.

go away, guess the dictator or sit-com character. i am not and never will be joey from dawson's creek. have you seen katie holmes lately? when i first followed that link, i thought i was looking at kelly osbourne.

come here, magic hat circus boy (and the weird-ass fortune teller on your website). if you did taste like a hefeweizen, i probably wouldn't like you.

go away, guy on tenth avenue who tried chat me up without actually listening to my responses. i tend to distrust people who tell me that i, too, sound like a good uncle.

come here, asparagus risotto. you gobbled up twice the suggested amount of veggie broth and needed doctoring with benecol and vanilla soymilk (because that's how we roll in The Kitchen That Joy Forgot), but you did your best.

a few years ago, a few years after graduation, our college clique got hot and bothered (as twentysomethings do) about working for The Man versus working for The Cause. it was quite dramatic; at the time i was with the SPCA and got terribly upset whenever one of my friends, say, got a nice piece of furniture or joined an entity with punctuation in its name. i remember arguing that we were like babies of different species - we had seemed similar enough in utero, but flippers and claws and such were going to get in the way as we grew up. the discussions were shamefully twee; thank god the whole thing blew over.

the late twentysomething version, i think, is a mutation of town v. gown. i don't want to twee out on it, but this amused the hell out of me when it popped up in my iTunes today:
Come down, come down from your ivory tower
Let love come into your heart
Don't lock yourself in an ivory tower
Don't keep us so far apart

I love you, I love you
Are you too far above me to hear?

Come down, come down from your ivory tower
You'll find true love has its charms
It's cold, so cold, in your ivory tower
And warm, so warm in my arms

I love you, I love you
Are you too far above me to hear?

Come down, come down from your ivory tower
You'll find true love has its charms
It's cold, so cold, in your ivory tower
And warm, so warm in my arms

101 in 1001: 045 earn (and get) a raise at work [completed mid-march '06]
in a literal sense, this item was in the bag unless i got fired before 22 march (pay tweaks happen on anniversaries at The Company). figuratively, it's still exciting; i have in fact been working my ass off, and my evaluation read like one of jan wenner's rolling stone reviews. moreover, joe and the cats and you lovely people are perennial, but i don't count on a lot of other things hanging in there from year to year. congratulations to The Company, then, for sticking it out with me! and congratulations to me for...having the funds to rent an extra movie each month.

celebrities v. giant inflatable rats: the six degrees of That Guy edition.
it was a long, hard winter for both star- and uniongazing; it's much more difficult to spot the famous when their fleshless little bodies are bundled up against the cold, and i think that if the MTA strikers' rallies featured huge rubber animals, frustrated commuters would have used them as bludgeons. things cleared up recently when i was trundling home from work with a huge box full of wedding dress. visibility was poor: i lurched off the curb at one point, nearly flattening myself and kyra sedgwick. woo, now our wedding's only one person away from kevin bacon! i give the encounter 1.5 points. i also ran into That Guy, in this case a character actor with a recurring role as a serial killer on csi: miami. one could argue that he shouldn't be any points because i can't remember his name; i'm calling 0.5 because, bacon-style, he's attached to the fantastically weird david caruso. if you haven't seen david caruso as csi: miami's horatio kane, friends, you are denying yourselves a rare pleasure.

rats: 3.5
star: 7


springer in new york

it's wing, or springer, or something like that. the plaza this morning was a far cry from the drifty blizzard zone of a few months back; our view from the third floor (this is from our stoop) was a sea of blossoms. hours later it was pummeled in a freak snowstorm; snakes on a plane, man. snakes on a plane.

mischa barton quote of the day:

"There's something about not being the quintessential Hollywood person who has to drive to every meeting themselves. You're in your own little area more. Somebody drives me to work - either my mom or an assistant. Or my boyfriend."

(jane, october '04)

and the killer wedding robot lumbers forward: i finally dropped off the first batch of our save the date cards. a clever friend tells me i'm supposed to send one to myself to see if/how they come through; i neglected to do this, so do let me know if you receive one, eh? i haven't trusted the post office with much since they killed my tadpoles in 1998 (grow a frog kits should NOT be available online).

one last addition to the photo set from our trip. if you were leaving our wedding in the super-secret back garden and heading for the pub (which is, in fact, exactly what we will encourage guests to do), you would see this:

garden sneak peek

03.23.06 [all holes filled]

that's more like it! many thanks to paul, kidchamp's de facto webmaster, for twirling the digital spaghetti that is this site. he even managed to save pensive girl, which means a lot - i was heartbroken when a similar breakdown ate my 'guy who got punched' art a few years ago.

so, then. back to the poop. the dirty dozen [part 2]:

005 101 in 1001: 065 (re)visit 221b baker street [completed 03.16.06]
in the mid '80s, my family was obsessed with jeremy brett as sherlock holmes in the mystery! series;* it was a gimme that we'd visit the sherlock holmes pub at 221b on our trip to london in '95. then (and when i visited again in '99) it was a restaurant / pub / museum for the series - we saw the holmes mannequin from the empty house upstairs, they had one of the corny phosphorescent dogs from the hound of the baskervilles behind the bar, it was awesome. our pilgrimage this time around was disappointing, as the pub was gone and the museum was locked up for the night. good thing "(re)visit" is fairly vague, innit?

006 101 in 1001: 012 write (publish) a mcsweeney's list [completed 03.15.06]
official word rolled in while we were in oxford last week:
At long last we have finalized the lineup for our forthcoming book Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists that is scheduled for publication through Vintage in September of this year, and I'm pleased to report that at least one of your lists has been chosen for this volume.
again, yay for vague wording: i was aiming for some action on the website, but this is listastic as well. it's even better, really, as i'll 1) be earning $25 for my efforts, 2) appear in mainstream print for the first (and probably last) time, and 3) get to use the phrase "mountain man dance moves" on my resume if the spirit moves me. as the moat girls would say, how good?!

007 snaps of the sherlock holmes trip, as well as several artful portraits of joe and my mom drinking, are up in an oxford / london photo set. it isn't quite as large as it might have been, as i had to save memory stick space for umpteen photos of the wedding ceremony and reception sites, but hey. how could photos of mom drinking be less than satisfying?

008 when we retrieved the cats from the vet's place on saturday, he mentioned that he'd done "two extractions" during chuck's dental work. fine, i thought, i'd actually expected it to be much worse - chuck's breath had been like an open grave for a month or two. we get the cat home, he yawns and smells of roses, and we see...one fang, because "two extractions" actually means "i pulled out three of your cat's fangs." poor chuck has one big tooth left, on the bottom, and looks like a (very very cute) gargoyle. that's normally the sort of thing you'd mention to a client when discharging their pet, right? i'm sure the teeth needed to go, but we...need a new vet.

*mystery!'s excellent opening sequence began my love affair with edward gorey; when my sister agreed to do the illo for our save the date cards, i asked her to take her cues from him. we like our weddings spooky.

03.20.06 [fire in the hole]

o, how i love the vicissitudes of domain registration. kidchamp a splode a few days ago; though i've forked over a big pile of cash to resuscitate it, it'll be a while before i comb through the shrapnel and find the server info i need to get back online. if this post is readable, of course, it's also superfluous; be that as it may, i miss/ed you, internets.
03.14.06 [uk]

a wedding scout operates with lightning speed and ruthless efficiency. we are seasoned wedding scouts: though it's but midmorning on the third day of our oxford planning mission, we've been through five pubs, two harvey's lunches, and three plates of ahmed's chips and cheese. we've also confirmed that the local stanford staffers don't remember (o happy day!) what we did to the house seven years ago, that oxford florists (like students on study-abroad programs) are lousy penpals and difficult to motivate, and that one should never, ever link to a cheap b&b from one's wedding website before checking to see if said b&b was, for example, nearly named The Worst Hotel in the UK. marriage nonsense aside, it's been wonderful to be back; oxford is just as we remembered it, though the students seem impossibly young. are the british simply baby-faced? this is what i tell myself.


friends, the wedding monster has eaten my soul and rendered me unable to update the 'champ. in lieu of detailed stories about my cats and lunches, please accept ziggy lives (the david bowie comic book).


the dirty dozen [part 1, since i'm too lazy to come up with twelve bullet points in a day]:

001 we've (i've) been on a movie binge for the upcoming academy awards. this hasn't involved actually watching nominated films (with the exception of the constant gardener - very pretty, but i'd be surprised if rachel weisz won for it), but i like to think we're offering broad support to the industry as a whole. we saw one of the greatest films of all time (r. kelly's trapped in the closet, which we both own and watched for the first time with my mother) and one of the worst remakes in recent history (the fog). the latter was such an inversion of all that is right and good that it actually caused a new york post reviewer to say something awesome: "How many out there have nightmares about leprous sailor-skeletons reaching up to grab you through the drain while you do the dishes?"

002 still slumming with wedding books; those listed at right are the tip of a dirty, dirty iceberg. repellent sentence of the day, on diamonds: "For your fiancee's sake, the larger the better, and she probably only likes talking in whole numbers...one carat, two carats, three carats, four." mine is not a whole number, per my request, thanks much. which is not to say that we don't refer to it, in our best sean connery voices, as The Rock.

003 yeah, there's a ring; we bought it (and ordered a wedding band for joe) before the blizzard started the weekend before last. the first flakes were falling as we left the store in soho, just in time to commemorate the freakishness of my liking a diamond.

004 ace young is the next american idol. his voice isn't the best this year, and he doesn't make my own personal liver quiver, but he's species hot - one of those seamlessly, freakishly attractive people who look like they were bioengineered to destroy the earth via mating. freakish is the operative word: even the television without pity crowd is responding to the way he shuddered through george michael's "father figure" last night. i'll keep watching for a few weeks just to see which pop songs are considered most conducive to the end of the world.